The fifth edition of the Pendance Film Festival takes place March 10-13, 2022 via Eventive. There are 61 films featured, including several “firsts” and some incredible features that are making Canadian premieres.

Pendance is an independent film festival supported by a bevy of great sponsors and key artists in the Canadian film community. It provides a platform to innovative storytellers to spark a new love affair with cinema among modern audiences starving for truth and meaning on the big screen. Pendance was founded by long-time friends writer Robert Misovic, and composer Andjelika Javorina.

Feature Films from the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands make up the nine selections, six of which are making Canadian Premieres


Marvelous and the Black Hole tells the story of Sammy, a lost teenager dealing with her mother’s death and trying to find her place in society. Miya Cech gives and very strong performance as she goes through all the emotion, from frustration and anger, to sadness and confusion. It isn’t until she meets motherly Margot that Sammy becomes less enraged and more engaged with her family and surroundings. There’s plenty of laughs to be had, and some tears to be shed. Rhea Pearlman (Cheers) also gives an marvelous performance as Margot. 

Sweet Disaster is such a roller coaster ride of emotions, with a story line that is so real and honest. A single 40 year old woman becomes pregnant with her partner, and both agree to raise the child, until her partner’s ex comes back into the picture and he decides to return to her. On top of knowing she’ll now have to raise the child on her own, she also has to contend with any multitude of complications that can happen during pregnancy at her later age. While it’s a strong subject matter to cover, the film has plenty of comedic interludes and surreal snippets to provide viewers with some pause for thought. There are also several Canadian references, including Vancouver, and Wasaga Beach. Oh, and what German movie would be complete without some old Baywatch episodes streaming for school children on the bus, and a cameo appearance by Mr. Hasselhoff himself? This is the new, new wave of German cinema.

Superior messes with the mind right from the get go. Opening with some sort of crash scene that sees the male occupant headed to the hospital, and the female occupant on the run, and landing at her identical twin sister’s place. Marian is a hip musician, while her sister Vivian is a small town stay at home wife in a lackluster marriage. For fun, they decide to be as kids and switch roles for a day to see if anyone would notice. One day leads to another , and soon a strange entanglement develops and viewers are left seeing double. While mostly psychological, there are many comedic moments, especially Miles who runs Riley’s Ice Cream Shop. This one stands Superior in its genre, and will have you seeing double.

Luzifer is not like anything you’ve ever seen before. There are scenes that will have you holding your breath to see where it’s leading, and others that may be triggering to some. A disturbed mother (Maria) lives alone with her mentally challenged adult son (Johannes) in a secluded distant cabin somewhere in the Austrian Alps. The mother relies on daily prayer to help with her reclaimed clean and sober lifestyle, and the bond between the two is a very odd, almost incestuous, relationship.The films depicts a crossover between religion and spirituality, alternating between praying and bordering on satanic worship. Trouble awaits as developers move in to take over their land for a proposed ski resort. The film is inspired by the true story of an exorcism, and German lead actress Susanne Jensen (Maria) is a child abuse survivor, and pastor of the Evangelical Church. Watch for German actor Franz Rogowski (Johannes) in the upcoming post-war queer film, Great Freedom, coming out later this year.

LGBTQ+ Content

Dan Abramovici’s Liminal is an experimental short that deals with the subject of sexual fluidity, and Katastrofer is another short film that deals with a young woman exploring feelings for her questioning classmate.

    Anchorage is a bro road movie, created by and starring real life friends Dakota Loesch and Scott Monahan. Two brothers attempt to drive a trunk full of opioids from Florida to Alaska to cash-in big in the Land of Gold. A split-second act of violence somewhere in the California desert derails their trip and sets them on a crash course with tragedy. The entire film takes place primarily in the car driving through the desolate California dessert. A trigger warning to anyone susceptible or overcoming drug use or addiction should be in order. Other than that, these two guys know how to write and act. It’s very Trainspotting and Naked Lunch, and as Scott shared, very personal to both of them. Read this interview with Dakota to learn more about the film and himself. These two guys are ones to watch for as the new breed of Hollywood takes hold.

    The Grand Bolero’s main storyline is centered around a romantic relationship between two women. During the Covid-19 lockdown we all experienced a sense of fear for touching each other.  In Italy, Roxanne, a gruff mid aged pipe organ restorer struggles to control her obsessive attraction to her new 20 years old mute assistant. Making the film was a great opportunity to showcase Director Gabriele Fabbro’s own obsession for classical music in films. The soundtrack has been recorded on three different types of organs including the Grand Organ of Villasanta (one of the biggest symphonic organs in Italy) and on a Mighty Wurlitzer (currently the only theatre organ in Italy).

    Short Films

    An incredible lineup of shorts including; All The Right Words, Shark, and Tundra (Sundance 2022), the Canadian Premiere of Cutter starring Nadia Alexander, and several world premieres.  The short film lineup features fifty-two incredible films from around the world divided into eight screening blocks.

    LMFAO Shorts‘ hilarious lineup starts with Carlos Gomez Trigo’s sci-fi comedy Survivers and Daniel Christpherson‘s Swan Song and ends with Dominik Hartl’s Austrian comedy The Washing Machine, and Nash Edgerton’Shark, starring Rose Byrne.

    Through Her Eyes is a section by female directors. The block features work by prominent emerging talents Erica Orofino, Pom Bunsermvicha, Mya Kaplan, Huma HussainZou Jing, and Isabella Margara.

    Cinema Mon Amour features the world premiere of Hanna Jovin and Adrian Morphy’s The MiddleJoe Perry‘s stunning Nobody’s BoyWe Won’t Forget by Lucas Eberl and Edgar Morais, and Jose Luis Aparicio’s Tundra which screened at Sundance 2022 among several other incredible films.

    Copenhagen to Vienna is a short block featuring three longer shorts from Austria and Denmark. The block celebrates three of Europe’s brightest female voices; Julia Reiter, Lisa Hasenhutl, and Tone Ottilie.

    So Much Drama features three incredible Canadian talents showcasing their work; Barbara by Aidan LesserLouise from 9 to 5 by Julien G. Marcotte, and The Way of Mourning by Matthew Segal. Joining the Canadian films are Nestor Ruiz Medina’s El MetodoAdrian Moyse Dullin’s The Right Words, and Oscar nominee The Letter Room by Elvira Lind.

    StoryOverEverything features documentaries and animated shorts, including Adjusting by Dejan Petrovic, Naya by Sebastian Mulder, and two excellent animated entries from Canada; Memory Makers by Mark Pagliaroli, and Forgotten by Mawrgan Shaw.

    Pendance Midnight features Cutter by Dan Repp and Lindsay YoungAll Night Long by Eric ScabarWild Will by Alan KingVisitors by Kenichi UganaMy Condition by Coke Arijo, Behind by Yili Li, and a sci-fi film by Adnan SiddiqueLast and First Woman.

    Finally, New Voices is Pendance’s out-of-competition selection, showcasing emerging talents from around the world. Canadian talents Francesco FiliceMelisa Sahin, James Salmon and Luisa Maria Gonzalez join international filmmakers from Spain, the United States and France.

    Workshops and Panels

    Pendance will feature over 50 speakers live appearing for Q&As and to lead workshops and speak on various panels. All events are broadcast live on YouTube and are free to attend from around the world.

    Read about them here. 

    Straeon Acting Studios founders Isabel Farias and Jock MacDonald lead a workshop on Directing Actors, Sasha K. Gordon discusses overcoming PTSD through Art and the situation in Ukraine, and Carlota Pereda deconstructs her Sundance 2022 standout feature film Cerdita

    Scott Monahan and Dakota Loesch discuss how they made a festival-winning feature in 5 days, Ethan Eng discusses how he became the youngest filmmaker selected to the features competition at Slamdance in 2022 with Therapy Dogs, and Erin Vassilopoulos and Chris Mutton lead a panel on film editing.  

    Here’s the schedule 

    Check Feature Films Here

    Check Short Films Here

    Here’s a quick way to see what’s coming

    Click here for an overview of everything screening, and to purchase tickets and passes.  Facebook Event Page

    About the Author

    Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.